tv Book Discussion on Friday Night Lights CSPAN October 31, 2015 8:00am-9:06am EDT
please join me and they can our panel. [applause] >> you're watching book tv on c-span2. book tv, television for serious readers. >> this weekend on book t we -- we bring you our coverage, authors talks and panel discussions, race in america. southern culture and more. also this weekend on afterwards, joint special operations command including with washington post dana prece. he weighs in on current social
and political issues. john carl, ways to reform system, a country called prison. also this weekend gay rights movement. for a complete television schedule visit booktv.org. book tv, 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors. television for serious readers. we now kick off the weekend with author of friday night lights, revisits how influence revisits politics in texas. >> good afternoon, i'm here to
be presenting. he has been in sports illustrated and various others. three nights in august, father's day. he's here today on the 25th anniversary on his book "friday night lights". the best book ever on football. espn called the best -- called the best book on sports in the century. following today's events, he will take questions. without further due, help me in
introducing buss bissinger. [applause] >> anyway, it's actually nice to save the best for last. book tours -- i have been on book tours for two weeks and they are tricky. actually i thought about this. i'm 60 year's old. i'm 60 year's old and i've written five books. this book has had tremendous success and i am lucky for that. i actually don't know that i have another book within me. i'll never, ever write anything that will sell as many copies as this. so this -- and i'm not trying to
be dramatic. this maybe my last bookstore appearance. i just don't know. i have an idea. you know, they are hard and would take five or six years to do. and you know, it's interesting, i was thinking about that all professions have certain emotions. you know, if you're in business you're hard working, confident, if you sell real estate, you're tough, you like making the deal no matter what. authors are insecure, hypersensitive, scared and rejection is hard. yesterday when i was in book a
million, crappy mall in texas, after begging them not to send me there -- [laughter] >> and you sit there and three people come. it's not good. it's not. the worse is -- i'm not going to allow any of you to do this. the worse is when people approach your book and sniff at it and thumb through it and put it down in front of your face. that's not a good feeling. i had a wonder event at brazos in houston and i have been to book people before and it's a good place, a sacred place. i've been thinking about why do we write books and i think it's often easy to lose sight of why.
i have had financial success, i pissed a lot of it away. i don't recommend anybody getting paid in lump sums. you get it and spend it. fame is ridiculous. it's not about celebrity. american celebrity is very bizarre today, i know this from personal experience. the celebrities are kim kardashian and kylie jenner and the rest. this was the monday, tuesday i was in odessa.
a english teacher e-mailed me and said we are using your book, is there any possible way that you would come. i said, sure, you know. i didn't really care about selling books. i thought it was really neat through using the book. i went there, i went there with bryan chávez who is in the book and we went together and he was one of the players that i wrote about and as bryan was talking and you see the faces on the kids you see that book does have ability to inspire in peoples' lives, to get kids to think and they were really, really good kids and a great teacher. and they can make a difference, and there was a young woman there. chávez had gone to harvard and
there was a woman asking a lot of good questions and at one point she requested him, what does it take to get to an ivy league school. i found that profound, this book, that character bryan chávez is having incredible impact to someone to at least see the world in a way that she never imagined, that there are possibilities out there that if you reach them or not, they're still incredible possibilities. and we spent two hours there. there was no book signing, nothing but a teacher who really wants her kids to learn, and that's why -- and we have to remind ourselves as authors, that is why you write books. you can touch a life. you can change a life.
and a long the book tour as difficult that some of the stops were, this book changed my life, this is why i became a writer, some guy, this is why i became a coach in texas. he was really strange. [laughter] >> but kermit was profound, if i had done nothing else, i would have been happy and satisfied and i'm really routeing for those kids and as i said, the teacher was fantastic. people -- a lot of people, i've gotten the question a zillion times, where did you get the idea. i grew up in new york city, i
loved sports and i soaked up sports. i remember reading an article about a high school quarterback in abilene, texas written by jenkins back in the day that sports writers could write. tired sentence after tired sentence. those guys could write. ford, jenkins. 15,000 people playing on a friday night. his name was on every church, hotel neon sign, a kid not that much older than me, three or four years older than me be that famous. the war of texas football hit me and bit me then. i found it fascinating.
i found it mythic, so before i even got to friday night lights, was struck me was all the small-town names becoming big-town legends. ken hall, ej, chuck moser. vintage american. that struck me that in a sense these men were the heart of america. and then the towns, you know, wink, waco, lubbock, san angelo, galveston, where the hell were they? i didn't know but i loved the music of them, the sound of them t way they -- the way they
rolled off the tongue. i have been to wink actually. i read at a young age. i read about the myth and the power. i drove out west in the mid-1980's and that's when it really the subconscious rose to the conscious and book began to take shape. i took the southern routes. georgia, alabama, mississippi, louisiana and then ultimately into texas. a lot of stores were not there. jc penny was holding on or sears was holding on but you would get a few blocks out and you would see the high school stadium. beautiful, really beautiful,
intimate, you know. water to the hill even if there was a drought, painted shrines, temples, pa -- palaces. everyone wants to believe in life and look forward to something and i simply believed that in many towns in texas, maybe hockey in minnesota, we are all looking for something to believe in and i became convinced that in many towns high school boobl is a -- football is a very unique culture regardless of the degree we do it off the backs of 16, 17, and 18-year-old kids. they are playing for
championships, town and community and that's really, really powerful. plus, i was good at what i did. i had great grounding at the philadelphian inquiring, the most interesting newspaper in the country. it was the first -- it wasn't a sports book. a book about the culture of sports. and sports writers, all of them were writing in that kind of heroic myth, they did no reporting, they never tunneled underneath, they really never tried to learn what the heart beat of a place was. i tried to do that in odessa.
how did i find odessa? it wasn't that hard to find? it's football team odessa was legendary at the time. it ended up winning four state championships. they were ranked number one in the preseason. what makes a book? it's story telling, narrative, you want the reader to turn the page and my home that permean would get to the playoffs as they were pretty much guarantied, but then there was odessa. a feel of a small town because of isolation, and of course, the football stadium that cost
$5.6 million in 1985. that pretty much tells you football is important. so i got permission, i got access and went down there. i lived there for a year. i took my twin boys with me. i bought red cowboy boots. the worst thing i would do is looked like a texan and i say away from cowboy books, i had jacket and loafers in 99-degree texas heat. the kids looked at me and said, who is this guy, what is he doing. i found incredible beautiful
power in those friday night lights. i had seen the band, the cheerleaders, the crying and the laughing, incredible importance. that stadium, i don't know how many have seen it. it was sort of like incredible rocket ship landing on the moon escape of west texas, the wind running across. it was spectacular. but it was too spectacular those lights were really too bright as in many other places. i feel firmly that we have become warped and certainly in high schools and colleges. too many parents -- and this is not many talking, a recent poll
of the foundation in the harvard school public school. 25% of parents think that their kids will make it to the pros. that's insane. but that also explains their obsession, their obsession with their kids, the pressure they put on kids, the pressure to win it all and the pressure on coach es to the degree of too many places, academics is obstacle to find a loophole. academics should be the mainstay of life. i think it's sports -- it's not just texas, it's not just football, basketball. that's become the important activity, academics are shunted to the side. we are the only culture in the
world that does this, the only country that looks to high school and college for sports entertainment. no other country does that. i don't know how we are going to get rid of it, but that's a bizarre thought sports playing role at a time where there's more competition and more globalization than ever, ever before. you talk to any foreign student who studies in a foreign country and come to the united states and say that high school is basically a joke, the amount of time you spend fooling around is astounding. i think sports is part of that monster that we've created. there are in characters in the
book for this edition. i wrote a new afterward. i was determined to write something real and i wanted to see the six kids that i had written about. i wanted to see part of it was professional to update their lives, who were they now, who was i now. we had had such an int -- intimacy. these kids have something too rare in america, they were real. they spoke for their hearts, they did not hold back, they were funny, they were sharp, they were observant, they were
great. and whatever pressure was placed upon them, they rose above it in an incredible spectacular way as many high school kids do and then some don't. i'm going to read you a little bit sort of the afterward to see what i was trying to get at. i had taken this route before. i was much younger than. i was in my 30's, when you can still act impulsively and not permanently suffer for it. i didn't know what to expect then and i don't know what to expect now. there's familiar comfort in the landscape, the star of metroplex and the flat lands of west texas
where you step off into eternity and wonder if you will ever find your way back. i'm returning and not just a famous and infamous odessa. i had to cancel my book tour. there are many good, honest people there but thick rains of racism. i could have done all of this by phone and e-mail and updating the lives of players, internet, it would have been easier and cheaper but i had to see them face to face. i had to know if there was still
any emotional connection between us, if any of the power of what we went through still remains. a moment in my life, maybe t key moments when i wondered about them. i loved them then, but love is the most empty and overuse word in the english language. 25 years earlier i had gone in search of the friday night lights. now during a week in april in texas i went searching for those who had played under them. and so that's what i was trying to do and drove a thousand miles, i actually love driving through texas, my thoughts had never been cleaner and pure, i like the sound of the road, i love particularly going from west texas to el paso where you can drive 118 miles an hour.
[laughter] >> i saw all six kids. when i was younger as i am now 60, i was 34 when this book came out, very judgmental, high standards because they were my own standards, they were the standards that you have when you grow up and seen privilege in new york city. they were great, it was great to see them and i call them kids. they're not kids, they're in their mid-40's, but it was great to see them. i no longer judged what their lives were and who they had done. our bond was totally, and i saw them grow emotionally and physically. they had put a lot of tonnage and they are virtually all bald. [laughter]
>> they really have packed it in obviously if you read the book, one of the players that i wrote about, the mainstay was boobie miles. boobie was -- i think you can argue that he was the best running back in the state of texas that year. that's saying a mouthful. he was 6'2, 190 pounds. tough, mean and he loved to run. and i loved to watch him run although it was only on tape. he abandoned the boy, the -- the joy and the beauty. of course, boobie got hurt, and in theoment of getting hurt, and i'll never forget this the
stadium in lubbock, texas, a meaningless play, the cleat got caught on an artificial field and he fell on it. and in that moment his life did end. that's not said for the sake of saying interesting or dramatic, his life had end. i want to read, i want to start a little bit earlier to give you a sense of what he felt, how much he had waited for that senior year. this was his moment. he put too much thought in football, but this was it, this was the crowning season that would get him to college and into the pros, which is a very, very dangerous dream that so
many kids have because there are a lot of boobies out there. it was the watermelon feed t moment in august while all the fans came together. about 600 of them in the school cafeteria, one by one they were announced. and then became boobie. boobie had played the year before in backup role. but this was his moment. he wasn't worried about stepping into the role, he knew he could do it, get the ball and tuck it
under his arm, make head turns. michael jordan in all special ways, i can run and fake in special says, said boobie. chance of booie echoed in the room and the world belonged to him and also belonged to his uncle, the man who had raised him, taken him out of the foster home. on this night of the watermelon
feed the nephew walked down as someone absolutely sure of his destiny. smiled wonderful and wide, the gate easy and sweet, cockiness, but there was no one else like him. the game so lop slided, boobie himself posed the question one day. they only had one boobie. he was right. they only had one boobie. people would get their first real taste of what he was going to do. the season when he and he alone was the shining star of the
permean. that's what it was like. those were the expectations the town had for him. obviously he was african american and they were many in town that did not like him. they thought he was big-headed and difficult. as long as he played football and as long as he did his job, they would be okay with it. several days later came that scrimmage and they want -- i want to review what that was like. he moved off the line against the paladerodons. shoulder pads clapping loudly up
and down. he went for 15 yards and it was a scrimmage, but he wanted more, he always wanted more when he had the ball. the leg got caught in the artificial turf and someone fell on the side of it and when he got up he was limping and should barely put any pressure on it at all. the team doctor butler ran fingers up and down the legs and then he moved to the knee. boobie watched the trail of those fingers, his mouth slightly open. with a tiny voice of a child he asked butler, how serious it was not long he would be out. the doctor just kept staring at
his knee. you might be out six, eight weeks he said quietly. no, no, man. we won't know until we x-ray it. it maybe worst if you don't stop moving that leg. you can't be serious, man. you have to be full of it. butler said, no. man, i know that you're not talking about any six to eight weeks. boobie was placed in the red players bench and high tops were slowly untied. the leg was placed in a black bag to help from swelling. is it going to screw up my season, he asked him terrified.
i sure hope not. trapper knew that it would. dreams die hard, very hard in sports, too hard. nothing is more idolized and nothing more forgotten than the exathlete. we put them on a pedestal. we give them breaks, we pass them through and tell them over and over how great that can be and how great they are until they get hurt, or someone comes along, he's better. and it happened to boobie, both of those happened. and when that happened, he was
done. because -- and this happens all of the time more than we want to know, particularly with minority athletes and inner-city kids. boobie was treated as a football animal, an animal. he could not be educated so he was not educated. he was passed through everything. he had a tutor that would give him the answers the day before to make sure passed, no pass no play. i guess he thought he was doing the right thing. as a junior boobie would get to
his locker with a white envelope. now when you're a kid, and i'm trying to be dismissive, when you're a kid from the south side of odessa, the black side, the side across the tracks, i'm not a mathmatician. but it goes beyond that, if you're getting money, if you're getting answers, if you're going to be pushed through, if basically they said don't worry about educating the kid, just pass him through, you're not going to study, you're not going to think you need you need academics. kids like boobie are the ones
who need care and feeding and academics the most. he is not stupid, it is an insult to say that he's stupid. i remember asking him, i just said it was a throw- away question, what would boobie be without football, without football he would be something like a big old nigger. once they knew there was someone better, terrific kid, once they knew they didn't have to worry about boobie anymore. they were laughing and joking and having a good time. you know, maybe boobie should do to themselves what you do to a
horse, in other words, shoot himself in the head. 18 year's old. what was his sin, to get hurt. that was his sin. that's how you're treated. now i've been having this private war with odessa for 25 years, people are gracious ones the movie came out because it was a soft version of the book. returned to shooting in odessa and not delve into heavy in the book. i am really tired of them blaming the messenger. i'm tired of them somehow not coming to grips with the fact
how they treated the kid. there are parts of odessai like a -- odessa but i will never ever forgive them. it's a changed place, it's a changed place, diverse place, football is not as important as it was but it does not erase the past. i can tell you, if you don't have an education -- one of the problems with athletes the way we treat them as five or six, go check out aau basketball. basically being bartered by coaches making half a million dollars a year, selling kids, making deals with parents, shoe deals. the problem is among other things, they never learn adversity.
never until it's too late. you know, success is much easier to handle than adversity. adversity means you have to bounce back, you have to stop feeling sorry for yourself and i'm not very good at that. adversity means to let go and fight a hundred times harder. boobie had no education and he did not know how to handle adversity. when he stopped playing, they let him play, by the way, they let him played, he torn his ligament. they let him played because they sort of used him as a guenie pig
i paused because it's appalling. i kept in touch with boobie since the book. we are very close in some ways he became a surrogate to me. he had nobody, he had nobody, he had no one to rely on. yes, boobie needs to accept responsibility. but i was not surprised at all by where -- when i took that trip to texas where i
interviewed him and i'm going to read. when boobie was playing for permian he got 80's and 90's on his report card. the day before the test he had a tutor that game him answers. as long as i can play football, i got a's. of course, they're going to accept that. i'm here to tell you don't. it's hard to. but don't, he said. look what happens. he got hurt. and they don't care. which is probably why he had 50's and 60's on his report
card after the injury, which was shocking enough by being called a big dumb old nigger. 25 years of time will never, ever excuse those. boobie's son went to high school in texas. boobie's life comes to -- eyes come to light. he's serving ten years for aggravated assault eligible for parole in 2018 in a state that doesn't like to give parole and prison is not a good place to offer fatherly advice.
he listens to the message that boobie never heard and thousands of others like him never hear as well. if you don't have football, you have to have something. i don't want my son turn out like i turned out. that's my worst fear. i don't want my son to go through what i went through. it was horrible. i don't want that. boobii has found during time in prison, his self-awareness, it's a wonderful thing. but i heard that before. but still, watching someone find
that in prison will break anybody's heart. boobie and i have had more than an hour together. the guard is getting restless, we clash hands and embrace. there's a lot of left in this day. maybe there is nothing. i love you, man. i love you. i watch him leave, looking through a window. everything is still an -- and empty. there's a flash of another memory. it is that one of boobie at the watermelon field watching through the narrow aisle in the
crowd. thank you. [applause] >> i'm happy to take questions if you guys have questions, anything and everything. let me put on my glasses. do you have a question? sure. >> 21 years ago i filmed -- >> did you? >> a few years ago. >> i heard he died. >> i didn't follow. he was not the main character. among folks that have read your stuff.
i'm wondering just -- you wrote that book term in city you lived in and you go to odessa worried about the lives of a city that you're not from. is the process different for you? >> in writing fried night lights, i started writing it in odessa. it was pretty terrible, i had never written a book before. i had never used an outline. i don't need no stinking outline. my editor read 30,000 words and i had to come to new york immediately and said at the rate is going the book is going to be as long and odessa is not nazi germany. when i got distance i was able
to write the things that i had to say. i wondered if i should have done in city if i needed distance. i don't know. i really appreciate what you say about a prayer for the city, it was about urban america through the eyes mayor of philadelphia. it took a chunk of my life. it doesn't compare to friday night lights that sold about 2 million. i'm glad that i did it. it actually was my best book. reading friday night lights it was wonderful to the language that captured those kids and it's interesting how books have the right tone for the right time and the right character.
>> thank you. one of the events you talked about towards the end was kind of the influence that's given to kids when a lot of it is provided for them throughout their educational experience even starting at a very young and early age, and as someone who follows college football, one aspect is recruiting process and kids are getting recruited younger and younger. one example that people took as a joke when ohio state offered lebron james' a full ride. the kids that make it, very few kids that make it through and play big-time college basketball, what would you say is a more corrupting or dangerous influence on them in that process either the recruiting processes from the colleges where they are treated like gods among young men or
does it start earlier at the high school level where their basic day-to-day things are taken care for them? >> it's a bad cycle all around. the worst sports in doing that is lacrosse. has kids come in as early as ninth grade. routinely. trust me, cares about sports as much as any school does. and the problem is that when you -- one of the problems is when kids commit that young, kids are still growing, maturing, a lot of the kids that commit, they may decommit because the schools no longer want them, and it's just no guaranty. you know, there are a few times -- you could tell lebron james that dad was going to be a great player, but that's few and far
between. the thing is you know, it starts at the ages of five or six. particularly in basketball although i ran into gentleman where he said his son was going to play tackle at five. they should pay me for that title. [laughter] >> they should. if i had trademarked friday night lights i could buy his bookstores, but i didn't. and the -- you know, it's funny, and i'm rambling around a little bit. is high school football as big as it was then? well, this is the saturday dallas news. let's see. one, you can count of, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, eight pages. eight pages. why are they doing it? obviously they think they can make money of it. you have high school programs, not every that are basically college programs on tv all the time, espn all the time, on comcast all of the time. u.s. trinity. ueless, allen, 60 million-dollar stadium. says a lot about the community value and built beautiful art facilities. well, eight pages in the dallas morning news pretty much says it all. it's as intense as it always was you can pretty much identify the
schools. the other thing in suburbs, the rich suburbs, they can all afford private trainers and have the best in equipment and in facilities. i find college football offensive. and here is why i find it offensive. notwithstanding that feet missing extra point for texas, that was offense i -- offensive. that was bizarre. what i find offensive is saben and urban miers, average salary for football coaches is $2 million a year. urban myer makes close to 10. kids don't get a dime. i don't want to hurt feelings, but he does not win those games, those kids win the games. you
don't have the talent, you're not going to win. and i'm an advocate and can be done. kids coming out of high school should be free agents. they deserve that money. they deserve it. and you could do it, you know, and what would happen, actually, is schools would have to spend more on these kids and less on coaches and then the salaries of football coaches would go down. it's going to be the have and have notes. what's the have and the have notes -- not's now. how many millions does johnny make? how much does rg3 make for baylor. what happens if they get hurt? they're not very good policies, but what if you get hurt as a
sophomore and junior? why is it fair for school make tens of millions. they were licensing kids names on uniforms because they're not there for a scholarship. you have to take $50,000 of the money you have. if you have more than $50,000 and you apply to the scholarship. kids will do that if they really want an education. but to expect college kids because pressure is on them, it's a year-round job, expect them to care except for the motivated kids, so when i say nick sabeni get mad. i get mad at our culture. you know, this is america the land of free opportunity and free enterprise and free market. baseball players come out of
high school and make millions and in nba you have to stay as a freshmen in college and i don't think that's right, i think any kid should have the right to go when he wants but in football, what this is it is a scam. it's a scam by the nfl. this is nothing else than a system because they don't pay a dime for it. high school recruitses in the country said we are not signing with anyone. if they banded together, something would happen. i think the nfl at a minimum should contribute 200 to $300 million a year into a scholarship fund. we all know tuition is going up for the average student, college is harder and harder to afford. but, yeah, you have saben, 35 other coaches making obscene
millions. well, that's a rotten, rotten business. and you could, you could -- and trust me. [applause] >> if the 50 biggest said we are not signing unless something would change. yeah. no. good. >> i feel good. >> good. >> as you went back to odessa and permian high school, what's your take away about the status now? >> you know, these are surfaced impressions. permian has changed. i met with the principal who i was impressed by. i think he got his priorities in order. when you walk to permian high school today, you see banners hanging of the colleges the kids went to, a&m, texas, harvard. i think that that's what we want
to kids to do. you know, fans drop off when a team isn't winning and since 1995 permian has not been the same. it's a different place. when i wrote this book there was no social media, no facebook, no twitter, so kids have other interest. permian is pretty good this year and leads in scoring. they have a really smart coach. so what will happen as more fans go and what will happen if you reach the level, i think they learn their lesson. i think they were embarrassed by the book. i think they made changes. no ill will for odessa permian.
one of the reasons that attracted me was the myth of team and sacrifice and season program, you know, whipping up on the bigger kids from the metroplex. basically you have to go through -- and that's going to be hard. returning to to the past would a mistake. i was impressed by the coach. i think they're on the right track. man, you let me step into that but i answered it pretty good. [applause] >> i wasn't impressed -- i was impressed by the way he runs practices, he's not a yeller or screamer. it's really interesting. but they're good, they're good. wow.
boy, that would have been bad if -- [laughter] >> i'll take more questions. sure, right there. >> i just want to ask you about the process of writing -- >> bad. no, i actually have a good answer. >> i grew up in a house full of athletic sports. i hate sports but i love the book. you described boobie in the clam with him poking a girl with a pencil. how much access -- >> i was there. i had access to the school. i don't think they'll do that again. so when i watched that, you know, one thing ant -- about the book is 80-90% was observed. people in odessa say that you were a yankee betrayer.
>> i've seen the statistics, and there's certain sports where kids do well academically -- [inaudible] so keep swimming. i recently did a story on a program called harlem lacrosse which is a program that they've instituted that a school in inner harlem to have middle school kids learn lacrosse. and these kids, mostly single-parent homes, they live in some of the roughest housing projects in new york city. they believe in sports, but they believe in sports not as a tool of winning, but as a tool of intervention. and they believe that lacrosse in harlem, which sounds weird,
that by using lacrosse, it has gotten kids to stay in school, they have mandatory study hall every day, and the program directors are in the school. so they know everything that is going on. everything. everything academically, everything on the field. they get involved with their parents. so you think of it as intervention. and it's not name by panel by. the practices are hard, and they want to win. but it's a tool of intervention. it's the best sports model program i've ever seen, because the roughest kids are staying in school, and they want to excel. and the one thing they do that made sense is they never take lacrosse away, because if you take it away, you're taking away the one thing they love. that is a last resort. the other thing they've done, because people want to help those kids. they've made partnerships with prep schools all over the east and some colleges. so you have kids now who are
going to some of the finest prep schools in the east and then going to colby and then going to bates x. the other thing -- and the other thing they do, and it's, they take kids on field trips to harvard, to princeton. the lacrosse coaches meet with them. they go in the locker room. but they go by golf courses, and all of a sudden their horizonnens open. horizons open. and they say, you know, i can get out of harlem. i want to be where a the lawns are, i want to be where the beautiful houses are. and that's powerful. will they get there? at least they have a vision of the world that is not so narrow. so i think that's a great model, and now they're pushing it up to the high school. they've opened six programs. it's not cheap, but i was blown away, because the kids are fantastic. and it's hike so -- like so many kids, you know, given an opportunity they can excel. what happens and the reason it
was done, it was started by a 23-year-old kid from teach america who went to frederick frederick douglass and was going to teach high school chemistry. two days before the principal said a special ed teacher teaching seventh-eighth grad had a nervous breakdown. he said it was wild. he was in fear for his life. the kids didn't listen, and out of desperation, he came up with this idea of lacrosse. and it's had amazing success. so i think there is -- it's all about balance. and the final thing i'll say is, you know, athletics under the right conditions teach, what do they teach? teamwork. comradeship. togetherness. competition. and the most formidable people i've ever seen in my life had that balance. they didn't see sports as a means to an end or an end to all means, but they saw sports as part of their lives they could ultimately use in their lives. you know, you cannot outcompete.